NOOSA – Philip Kai Morre – a regular contributor to our Comments section from Kundiawa in Papua New Guinea - graduated from St Fidelis College in Alexishafen in 1980.
He then completed a preparatory spiritual year in the Catholic Church at Erave in 1981 before progressing to the Holy Spirit Seminary in Bomana near Port Moresby.
Philip was a seminarian for four years before he suddenly left.
When he sought to return, he was refused by Archbishop William Kurtz - and he left the seminary for all time.
Archbishop Kurtz had other ideas for the young man.
He engaged Philip to undertake peace and social justice duties and supported him in carrying out drug rehabilitation work for the diocese.
“Even though I left the seminary the Archbishop never leave completely,” Philip says. “I was still working for the church.”
Philip found himself attending many courses both within and outside Papua New Guinea at Archbishop Kurtz’s recommendation.
In 1995 he graduated from the Australian Institute of Counselling in Addiction, where Fr Kevin Murphy MSC was executive director.
When he returned to PNG, he pioneered the work of alcohol and drug rehabilitation in Simbu Province and wrote ‘Drugs and Their Dangers in Papua New Guinea’ and ‘Drugs and Their Effects in Papua New Guinea’, now in its second edition.
Later he was deployed to assist the Summer Institute of Linguistics and the PNG Bible Society to translate the bible into the Kuman language, the traditional tongue of most of the Simbu people.
“It took us many years but we completed it,” says Philip. “And whilst in the midst of doing this we also wrote a Kuman English Dictionary.
“It was independent of Fr John Nilles’ dictionary that he was working on at the same time.”
So some three decades years after Philip first committed himself to the Catholic Church he is still busy as secretary of the diocese and doing charity work with the St Vincent De Paul Society.
The new Bishop-elect in Simbu is Fr Paul Sundu, at present a lecturer at Good Shepherd College, Fatima, and parish priest at St Michael’s at Koge.
Fr Sundu happens to be from Womatne village in Upper Simbu, near where on 16 December 1934 a young German priest, Fr Karl Morschheuser, became the first Catholic martyr in the New Guinea highlands.
Philip has previously written in PNG Attitude about Fr Morschheuser's murder and is now working on a book on the life and times of the pioneering priest.
This busy and compassionate man has also been appointed interim chairman of the Simbu Writers Association as it struggles to regroup following the death of Francis Nii last year.
So we wish Philip Kai Morre well with his continuing good works for the Simbu people, and if any reader has information on the life of Fr Karl Morschheuser, you can link here to Philip’s email.